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Welcome to the four hundred and fifty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and fifty-six. This week, did Northstar nearly get his own solo comic book by John Byrne over twenty years ago? Does Marvel own a trademark on the word “Marvel” in comic book titles? And how did Peter David celebrate the firing of a nemesis of his in the Star Trek licensing department?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel nearly had a Northstar ongoing series from John Byrne over 20 years ago.
STATUS: I’m Going With True
My pal at JohnByrneDraws suggested that I feature this one.
John Byrne helped to change the landscape of the Marvel Universe when he created the first gay Marvel superhero, Northstar, in the pages of Alpha Flight.
Interestingly enough, Byrne almost made ANOTHER first a decade or so later during his second stint at Marvel during the late 1980s/early 1990s. Byrne nearly launched an ongoing series starring Northstar!
Byrne told the story on his forum that he was approached by a Marvel editor for a duo book starring Northstar and, oddly enough, Ironclad, the Thing analogue in the villainous version of the Fantastic Four, the U-Foes (Byrne had just recently used the U-Foes, so maybe that’s why it piqued the editor’s interest)…
Ironclad would be dating Northstar’s twin sister, Aurora, which would be the connection between the two. The book would be dubbed North and South. The book would display Northstar’s sexuality the same way that any straight character would be handled. It certainly wouldn’t be hidden.
As Byrne recalls it, it was soon after Andy and Adam Kubert got big raises to stay with Marvel, so it would have to be around late 1991/early 1992. Byrne says that he asked for roughly half their then-current pay rate to both write and draw (pencils AND inks) the series, but Marvel ultimately said no, citing that it wasn’t financially doable even with Byrne taking a lower rate. Byrne and the editor suspected there were reasons other than the monetary ones that Marvel cited, but I guess we’ll never know.
Marvel eventually DID give Northstar his own mini-series in 1994 but it really didn’t do anything with his sexuality at all.
Thanks to JohnByrneDraws for the suggestion!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did former First Lady Barbara Bush really write an apology letter to Marge Simpson!?
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